Aim: To test four neonatal severity-of-illness indices (CRIB, NTISS, SNAP, SNAP-PE) for their ability to predict short- and long-term outcome in very low-birthweight infants receiving neonatal intensive care.
Methods: Data on 240 newborns with birthweights below 1500 g from two Swedish neonatal units were collected. The predictive values of the indices for an adverse outcome in the neonatal period and at 4 y of age were compared with those of gestational age and birthweight.
Results: An early adverse outcome (in-hospital death, severe haemorrhagic-ischaemic brain lesion, retinopathy, chronic lung disease) was better predicted with CRIB (area under ROC curve (Az) = 0.87) and SNAP-PE (Az = 0.86), while SNAP-PE was best for predicting late problems (deviations in growth and psychomotor development, neurosensory impairment, difficulties in concentration, and impairment in vision, and hearing) (Az = 0.63). All indices predicted the early outcome better than the outcome at the 4-y follow-up. Severity-of-illness indices can be used as instruments to follow and improve the level of neonatal intensive care, but unfortunately seem to be of little value in long-term follow-up.
Conclusion: CRIB and SNAP-PE indices are better in predicting hospital mortality than birthweight. None of the systems can predict adverse outcome at 4 y of age.